Art Edmond Ayotte graduated from high school in his hometown of Maynard, Massachusetts, the same year the USA was entering WWII. In December 1941, Art walked to the nearest recruiting station in the neighboring town. After three days of standing in lines, he was finally signed up. He had joined the Navy!
Art spent most of his Navy time in the Pacific where he saw action in the Coral Sea, Guam, Saipan, and the Leyte Gulf, earning seven battle stars along the way.
Art was serving aboard the USS Houston as a coxswain mate on a five-man gunnery crew when she was torpedoed. The ship was badly damaged and in tow by the USS Pawnee when she was torpedoed again. Most of the crew obeyed the order, “Abandon ship” but Art stayed on board with a small crew in hope of keeping her float. The ship limped along, but eventually the short crew managed to return the USS Houston to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Art loved being at sea and knew his destiny was meant to be on the wide open ocean. Knowing this, he began studying for his Coast Guard license while on the USS Houston’s battle bridge. When his tour was over, he headed directly to New Orleans to complete his studies. After receiving his license, his first job as a ship’s officer was Second Mate. His studies continued and at the age of twenty-seven, he became the youngest person to receive the blue-water Master license. This license would be renewed five times over the next decades and he traveled to many places as Chief Mate or Master.
Art had many interests and read avidly while at sea. It was during this time that he began to develop his dream of writing.
In 1957, while captain of a charter sailboat in the Bahamas, he met his wife-to-be, Nancy. Although Art’s tours of duty often took him away from home for months at a time, when he was on shore, he and Nancy shared many fascinating hobbies: fencing, hunting, sport shooting, photography to name a few. This led to an interest in historical re-enacting, particularly the Fur Trade Era.
In order to pay expenses for the various trips across the country for Re-enactment Rendezvous, Art researched, designed and sold period shoes. It wasn’t long before word got out, and demand for more shoes and even buttons came his way. A business was born and in 1986, Fugawee Corp. was incorporated.
In 1989, Art’s time at sea was done and he came home for good. It was a wonderful time as the family spent time traveling, attending historical events and visiting museums.
Art passed away in 2007. His legacy continues within his family and his writing.